Originally created 10/27/01

Business briefs



Prized GM subsidiary nears buyout decision

DETROIT -The winning suitor in the long-running battle for Hughes Electronics Corp. and its lucrative DirecTV home satellite television unit could be determined as soon as this weekend.

General Motors Corp.'s board is meeting today with an eye toward picking either News Corp. or EchoStar Communications Corp. as the buyer for the money-losing Hughes subsidiary, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported this week.

At stake: a chance to obtain Hughes' DirecTV unit, the largest home satellite TV provider in the nation with more than 10 million subscribers.

State prepares to honor family-friendly job sites

COLUMBIA -Employers doing their best to promote a family-friendly workplace can expect recognition next year from a new award program.

Gov. Jim Hodges and the state Chamber of Commerce said Friday that the South Carolina Family Friendly Workplace Award will honor employers in four categories: small businesses with 100 or fewer employees; midsize businesses with up to 500 workers; large businesses with more than 500 employees; and nonprofit organizations.

Many employers realize that investing in family-friendly programs "becomes a direct investment in the bottom line," said Hunter Howard, the chamber's chief executive.

Applications for the award are available on the chamber's Internet site, www.scchamber.net.

Kraft drops employees in Nabisco integration

NORTHFIELD, Ill. -Consumer foods giant Kraft Foods Inc. said Friday it plans to eliminate 1,000 jobs from its work force of 117,000 through voluntary retirements based on increased benefits.

The nation's largest food company with brands such as Maxwell House coffee, Oscar Mayer meats and Post cereals said the reductions are part of its continuing integration of Nabisco, the maker of Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy cookies and Planters nuts, which it acquired in December.

Kraft said the voluntary program will be offered to certain U.S. salaried employees and will entail a $160 million charge in the first quarter of 2002. Total charges for integrating Kraft and Nabisco, including facility closures, reconfigurations and other consolidation, are still seen as $200 million to $300 million.

Lucent eliminates jobs to get ready for sale

NORCROSS, Ga. -Lucent Technologies on Thursday cut 580 jobs at an optical fiber and cable plant, shaving jobs in preparation for its Nov. 16 sale to Tokyo-based Furuwaka Electric Co.

The Norcross plant, Lucent's largest fiber-optics facility, once had 3,000 workers but will have about 1,250 after this round of cuts, said company spokeswoman Mary Ward.

The New Jersey-based telecommunications equipment maker posted an $8.8 billion loss for its most recent fiscal quarter, the result of a whopping $8 billion in special charges and a 28 percent drop in revenue.

Auto-parts maker drawn to Greenville BMW plant

GREENVILLE, S.C. -BMW Manufacturing Corp. has attracted another supplier near its South Carolina plant.

T&WA will invest $6.8 million to build a 43,000-square-foot building and will employ 21 people.

The company makes tire and wheel assemblies. Its products are used by BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, John Deere and Caterpillar.